Wanting This Probable Possible Promotion!
January 28, 2010 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Just got a call from HR for a "chat" about an administrative position I applied for with my current employer. The "chat" is tomorrow. How might this "chat" go, and other than the usual interview preparations, what else should I be prepared for?

I am currently a departmental assistant for an academic department, handling things such as course schedule planning, overseeing undergraduate student workers, locating available adjuncts for courses, facilitating the advising process for undergraduate students, maintaining departmental records, etc. The position I have applied for is very entry level administrative and will likely involve much of this but also involves actually managing and coordinating a very specific piece of the undergraduate academic experience and a separate but similar piece of the graduate academic experience.

I'm nervous as all get out and have no idea what questions might be asked as related to my current work here or to the position in question. The position posting was up for less than a week, which given the hiring process here, is likely a very good thing for me.

But how do internal interviews differ from external ones? What should I take into particular consideration? Do I bring a copy of my cover letter and resume, or is that just redundant this time? It's probably reading too much into it, but could it mean something that the HR person said "chat" as opposed to "interview"? I haven't interviewed for a job in five years! This would be a really good step up for me and I want to rock the "chat" tomorrow!
posted by zizzle to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I remember in one of my old jobs, our admin person going on a similar "chat" with another department. The job was also a promotion to being an admin coordinator role. She rocked it because, well, she rocks, as in, she's really good at what she does, and she had a lot of energy and got along really well with the people she was "chatting" with. As in, she has great interpersonal skills. Of course we were all happy for her when she got the job! I bet you're very similar to her!

To be on the safe side, I would definitely go in prepared with your cover letter, resume, and references (if you have them). I think this is more of an informal "get to know who you are and what you're like" rather than a formal interview process where they make you write a test or answer behavioural questions and all that jazz. You know, just chatting. Talk about why you're interested in this job, why you think you're ready for it, why you think you'd be good for it. And breathe! Just let yourself shine.
posted by foxjacket at 8:36 AM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: Turn the interview around by acting as if you're a consultant, brought in to solve their problems. My questions for doing this are "What do you need to have done that you're not getting now? What drives you crazy?"

This lets me talk about exactly what they need and show how my experience and skillls match up.
posted by KRS at 9:17 AM on January 28, 2010 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Remember that you're already a (mostly) known quantity to them -- you're an established insider who knows the university's culture, vision, policies, and systems as well as your department's own procedures and needs. How easy would it be for HR to promote from within and have you "hit the ground running" in this new position, as compared with bringing in someone from the outside who'd have to begin at square one.

Oftentimes, career-advice manuals will suggest that new applicants downplay the emphasis on what the new job would mean for them and instead focus on what they can bring to the company. In this case, you're already passed that point -- you demonstrate each day what value you contribute to the organization.

So, I think you should be prepared to speak easily and comfortably about three things: your experience and accomplishments, your understanding of what the new position would entail and how you' d handle those new responsibilities, and how this move fits into your own plan for your professional growth and development. HR may not always want to hear about this last piece from an outside applicant, but they should certainly be interested in the 'personal' piece from an inside candidate.

Good luck!
posted by pine at 9:40 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Biggest reason internal candidates don't get hired for jobs is that they don't treat "informal chats" with the same level of seriousness that external candidates treat formal interviews. Over prepare, just as you would with any other job interview.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:51 AM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: Having done (and aced) internal interviews before, my advice is to prepare for it and take it as seriously as a regular interview. Dress up and bring your resume, cover letter, and portfolio (if applicable). Even if it winds up not being "an interview", you can't really hurt by being prepared.

My internal interview was at a very casual tech company. I simply wore my suit trousers and shirt without a jacket during the day, and put on my jacket before the interview. I brought my resume and portfolio in a nondescript binder so that if the opportunity to show them didn't come up, I didn't have to feel embarrassed.

Good luck!
posted by tastybrains at 10:04 AM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: Dress the part, and prepare yourself by preparing good examples of your many fabulous skill. Review any reference letters or awards you have; this always pumps me up for an interview. Be positive. Good Luck!
posted by theora55 at 5:22 PM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: Hi, HR person here. I hate the "chat" (other euphemisms for internal interview are 'catch-up' and 'discussion' almost as as bad as 'expression of interest'). Its an interview. But play to your strengths.

You are a known quantity - that is your main advantage. It's not what you know about the job or the organization (any fool can read the PD and memorize the website) it is what they already know about you as an employee! They know you dont chuck sickies, they know you are diligent, conscientious and nice to have around the office... and you know the damn job!

Yes, dress the part but dont go overboard. Yes, be prepared but you are already busy - dont act like you spent the last 5 days doing nothing but prepare - you were working already remember? Be yourself and even though this might hurt a bit... if they dont choose you just ask for some feedback and advice on how to get there next time. But it sounds like you'll be interviewing next time! Good luck.
posted by evil_esto at 7:54 AM on January 29, 2010

Response by poster: Well, it's over! Thanks for the thoughts. They were all really good.

I'm not sure I want the position now after hearing about it, and the supervisor is known to be..umm..difficult. And, I guess I'm really scared.

"I'll move on this on Monday," she said, and I said, "Okay," and she said, "Fabulous!" I think she de facto offered me the position? I don't know. Anyway --- weekend will be spent listing out the pros and cons for taking it or not if it is offered.
posted by zizzle at 10:54 AM on January 29, 2010

Response by poster: Well, even though I interviewed well, I didn't get the position. And that's okay since in the end I wasn't sure I wanted. The job as it read was more a coordinating position, but the job in practice has a ton of marketing to it. Not my thing.

Thanks again to you all for the suggestions! I did rock the interview even though I wasn't picked.
posted by zizzle at 8:05 AM on February 3, 2010

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